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Strap hooks into Dennis Harrison American Banjo

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Apr 4, 2020 - 10:32:04 PM

ClaytonOz

Australia

5 posts since 4/4/2020

Hi there from the locked down land of Oz...

I have recently picked up a Second Hand Dennis Harrison (theonly1hardway - evidently) Mountain style banjo (#22 - definitely a collectors item!) and am wondering about the best placement of Strap Hooks?

There is a substantial amount of wood near the neck junction, but it looks like a join down the middle, so I should put it to one side or the other (usually the underneath side to add stability - it will be a strap lock job here anyway).

But at the other end, I don't think it should go into the rather thin ring. I guess the bottom section (which I haven't shown in the attached photo) is pretty damn substantial and should be fine for such a task....

Assuming I master the idea of fretless (this is my first fretless instrument), I'd expect to put a pick up in. I have used a Peterman's tuned piezo in my Octave Mandolin, wondering if the same might be used here. Or are there particular recommendations for Banjo?

Regards, Clayton


Apr 5, 2020 - 12:53:51 AM

4812 posts since 5/14/2007

I'm not sure what you mean by "strap hooks." Do you mean strap buttons?

Usually banjo straps are attached to the hooks which pull the ring down on the head to tighten it. That may not be an option on this puppy. If we had a side view of the rim it would help.

Apr 5, 2020 - 1:17:19 AM
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ClaytonOz

Australia

5 posts since 4/4/2020

Thanks John, yes, I do mean buttons.

Not overly familiar with the world of Banjo and this is not a modern style that has metal rims and other such devices to attach to...

The wood that I have unattached that is the back / sound board, with holes, is pretty substantial - I think a drill and button into that would work... the man who made this instrument if evidently a regular contributor here. I was kind of anticipating his input eventually...

Regards, Clayton


Apr 5, 2020 - 4:36:30 AM
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571 posts since 2/26/2007

Hey Clayton,

Have you considered a cradle strap? It would wrap around the entire banjo, and only need to be "located" with the strap buttons instead of supported. If there is sufficient strap, you could cut small lengths off the end of the strap to make "belt loops" and fasten those to the banjo, and run the cradle strap through those.

Apr 5, 2020 - 4:49:21 AM
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ClaytonOz

Australia

5 posts since 4/4/2020

Interesting idea Hugh, hadn't considered because I'd never heard of such a thing... wikihow shows a couple of ways these can be used...

As its old school 'Mountain' type banjo it doesn't have the metal 'hooks'.

I suspect the only way would be to attach some kind of hook attachment on the strap into the holes of the sound board at the back? Its a pretty substantial section of wood, so certainly would have the strength, not sure if it would be very well balanced, but it might be worth a try.

Perhaps that at one end and a locking strap lock button at the neck would work...

Regards, Clayton


Apr 5, 2020 - 8:37:22 PM
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banjonz

New Zealand

10909 posts since 6/29/2003

If I may make a comment. The only reason an strap is required is if you want to stand and play it. Given that then volume output of a mountain banjo isn't that great, are you considering perform with it, if so where? On a stage? outdoors? Most mountain banjos are generally played sitting down. Just a thought!

Apr 7, 2020 - 2:13:17 AM

ClaytonOz

Australia

5 posts since 4/4/2020

Hi Wayne,

Even sitting with the instrument isn't all that comfortable, whereas with a strap I should be able to adjust how and where is sits so I don't have to be thinking about that rather than how to try to play it...long way to go before I have any confidence at all for the tones on a fretless - I may have bitten off more than I can chew! But I have to give it a go. And to give it a go, it has to be comfortable.

Apr 7, 2020 - 1:38:50 PM

641 posts since 11/7/2003

I like to use a strap when sitting too.  One problem I've always had with banjo straps is that when attached to front and back of the pot most banjos hang "neck heavy".   My Bonefass banjo has a little brass bracket screwed into the top of the neck for the strap to attach and it works great, it moves the balance point forward which makes it easier to stay in a comfortable position.  I was a little afraid of it at first but I've used it a couple years now and it's rock solid.  I'm guessing that mister Bonefass hand makes these but maybe not, no idea what to call it. 

 

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Apr 7, 2020 - 4:07:48 PM

ClaytonOz

Australia

5 posts since 4/4/2020

Hi Jim,

Thanks for that input... I like the idea and there is enough 'meat' on the lower neck to get a straplock button there I think (even if slightly compromised so that the neck doesn't pull down too far) - I will work out a rough balance and do the deed! Straplock button at one end and the cradle idea, looping through the back woodwork a the other end (which hopefully wont create a front back balance issue)...

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